Name: Brittany PaceYear: SophomoreMajor: Accounting and International StudiesBirthday: February 15, 1986Hometown: West Chester, PA via COAstrological Sign (FUN FACT): AquariusFavorite Memory: Hearing the stories of all of the different people that we meet and seeing how they coped in such a positive way eventhough they have gone through such a difficult expierence! I also loved the smile on each of their faces whent they saw the finished housed and the look of hope that came on their faces!
Going into the trip I expected to see destruction; however, you can not really understand until you see it first hand. Street after street of houses that are ruined, pile after pile of debris on the steet corners, and car after car abandoned on the side of the road.
The two weeks spent in New Orleans taught me more about my own and others lives than any other expierence I have had. We were forced out of our compfort zones and forced (but in a positive way) to bond with the homeowners who had lost so much and who were rather different then we are. In class before we left for New Orleans we discussed race and class in the city. We went into the trip breaking several stereotypes. We broke the stereotypes that people who don't live in the city and some of my classmates thought. The people of New Orleans truely still need as much help as they can get. They are not lazy people. One day it was raining so the class was late to the worksite and we arrived to see three of the six rooms cleared out (it was filled with at least two feet of broken drywall vevering the entire floor!). The homeowner stated that she had cleaned them up because she wanted to help as well. We broke stereotypes about the people we helped. Although they live a different life than most of our class does, they showed that they live comfortably, hold steady jobs, and support their families in a positive manner. We broke the sterotypes of others in the class. Just because we as girls can't take down ceilings and lift bookshelves holding water-soaked books, doesn't mean we can't hold our own with many of the other jobs. Also, many of us broke out of our own comfort zones. We would touch things we would have never imagined touching, sit on floors covered in Pontchartrain Punch (the left over water in the house), and some of us even found it cool to see large bugs crawl out of the walls by the end of our adventure.
Not only did we work on the repairing process for these families, we attended a city hall meeting, explored the French Quarter of New Orleans, and had the opportunity to meet other locals in the area at night. They all had different and unique stories and opinions; however, they all could not believe that we took our J-term to come help them. The city hall meeting showed us how many different issues that are all important in the city. The issue centering the city hall meeting we attended was over the issue of what to do with the thousdands of abandoned cars still left on the side of highways and under underpasses. The French Quarter was also quite the experience. I had visited the city last January, so I had seen the city in its final glory before the storm. It is very quiet now, and although the area did not directly get hit as hard as other areas, there were still abanoned buildings, and limied hours on the stores. The French Quarter is the most unique spot i the city. Jazz music comes out of most buildings, the names of stores are crazy, and I have never seen so many bars on the streets.
The expierence that I had in New Orleans by far outweighs any class experience in the past. RMC truly gave us a gift by providing the means for us to get to help the people of this devasted city. I must give the professors, Ira Andrews, Reber Dunkel and William Franz tons of credit and a huge THANK YOU!!! They were the most amazing professors. Not only did we not have any major incidents on the trip, they were some of the hardest workers I have ever seen. I will be thanking them for this experience for years to come!
And finally, we all had certain things that we looked for on the streets of New Orleans! I looked at the banners and bill-boards on the bus rides to and from the worksites. Here are a few of my favorites:
"The Grinch stole our Christmas, but he can't steal our spirit!"
"We Protected, we Sacrificed, we Prayed, we Stayed, WE ARE NOPD!"
"Welcome home New Orleans...Let the good times roll- AGAIN!"